RIDGEWOOD, N.J. -- The birth of a baby is a very exciting event. Yet, labor and delivery can be a long and challenging process. To help meet the emotional and physical needs of women in labor, Valley was the first in northern New Jersey to offer birth doulas as an option for all women delivering at the hospital’s Center for Childbirth.
A birth doula is a woman trained and experienced in childbirth who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to a woman and her partner before, during and immediately after child birth. The New York Times has referred to doulas as “a growing force in the ever-changing culture of maternity.” They also represent a return to an age-old tradition of women being surrounded and cared for by other women during childbirth.
The doula’s role is to complement the medical team consisting of the nurse, physician and/or midwife. During labor and delivery, she assists by providing physical and emotional support to women and their partners. The doula offers help and advice on comfort measures such as breathing, relaxation, movement and positioning and continuous emotional reassurance and comfort.
Sharon Tanis is the Supervisor for The Valley Hospital Center for Family Education.